Freedom of Expression and the Media Landscape in Ethiopia: Contemporary Challenges
Journal of Media Law and Ethics, Forthcoming
29 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 12, 2016
Freedom of expression is one of the founding principles of international human rights law. Its significance in ensuring the vitality of democratic self-government is unparalleled. Freedom of expression provides the most important means by which individuals can fully participate in the political life of a community. In fledgling democracies like Ethiopia, ensuring free expression is ever more important as it pacifies tension in society and reduces risks of violence. Freedom of expression is also a powerful means of addressing deep rooted structural problems in society like corruption and embezzlement. Nevertheless, in recent times, rights groups have accused Ethiopia of engaging in continuing repressive measures against the press and the media that undermine the continued vitality of the democratic process. In particular, since the contested national election in 2005, the state has continued to take measures which drastically affect political speech and harshly narrow the political space. These include the adoption of the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation, and the 2008 Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation. The purpose of this article is to analyze the current state of press and media freedom in Ethiopia, in particular the normative problems related with the regulation of freedom of expression and the media in light of both the general theory of freedom of expression and international human rights law.
Keywords: Ethiopia, Freedom of Expresssion, Democracy
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